6/6/03 by Phil Spear at WWE.com
Rey Mysterio won the Cruiserweight Championship on SmackDown! in his first major match since he pulled a groin muscle two weeks ago.
But Mysterio -- wrestling in front of friends and family, and thousands of his Southern California fans -- said he put the injury out of his mind and concentrated on the match, which was a rousing success by all indications.
“When you’re a little kid and you play some type of sport or you dance, and you’ve focused a lot of time into it, you want to show off,” Mysterio told WWE.com just after the match. “That’s how I felt. I felt like I wanted to show off to my people, to the fans and, most importantly, to my family.
“I had a lot of family members out there. I had this big adrenaline rush. I said, ‘I want to go out there and do more than 100 percent.’”
Regarding his injury, Mysterio said, “I didn’t even want to think about. I was just focused on putting on a good show.”
Mysterio pulled the groin muscle while wrestling Crash and Shannon Moore in a Handicap Match on the May 23 episode of SmackDown! The injury occurred when Mysterio jumped off the second rope and cross-bodied Crash.
“As my body hit his and we came down to the mat, my right leg hyper-extended,” he said.
Mysterio knew instantly that he was hurt. Fortunately, subsequent X-rays revealed no tear. A torn groin may have required surgery. Instead, Mysterio spent the last few weeks rehabilitating. As luck would have it, his next-door neighbor is a chiropractor.
The new champion attended WWE live events the weekend after the injury, but did not wrestle. On last week’s SmackDown!, he did only an interview to promote this week’s match, which, he said, was scheduled all along to take place this week.
“They were saving it for Anaheim because of the West Coast,” he said.
This past weekend, Mysterio got in the ring for the first time at non-televised events. He didn’t do any further damage to his groin, but he said he was cautious and tentative, a pace slower than normal.
Throughout the day at Tuesday’s taping, SmackDown! trainer Larry Heck worked with Mysterio.
“Larry took care of me,” Mysterio said. “He taped me nice and tight, stretched me out, did some (muscle stimulation), did some heat. I feel great. (During the match), I didn’t pull it and I didn’t hurt it.”
By winning the match, Mysterio, who has been WWE Tag Team Champion with Edge, earned his first singles title in WWE.
“That and the way they established this match, and put it in the main event,” Mysterio said, “makes it mean a lot more.”
Mysterio said the fact that his family -- his wife, Angie, and his children, Dominik and Aaylah -- was in attendance was icing on the cake.
“My little girl -- this was her very first wrestling match,” he said. “Nobody knew what was going to happen. When the result happened in the ring, seeing their emotion was incredible. It touched me.”